Nolan Levi Strauss pleads guilty to federal hate crime in an unprovoked attack on Arby’s customer because he was black and he didn’t like black people.
A Colorado man who in an unprovoked attack stabbed a man at an Arby’s restaurant of account of the victim being black has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime charge.
Nolan Levi Strauss, 27, entered his plea on Thursday and faces the possibility of life in prison for his attack on a 48-year-old black man on December 1, 2019.
The victim, who was not named, was sitting in a booth at an Arby’s in Ontario, Oregon, where he’d applied for a job when the trucker entered the restaurant and came up behind him and stabbed him two times in the neck.
The victim managed to grab the knife the knife before an Arby’s worker intervened and the victim scrambled away.
When the restaurant worker asked Strauss why he stabbed the man, the suspect replied: ‘Because he was black, and I don’t like black people.’
Racism & bigotry
Strauss was arrested without any further incident.
The victim was evaluated at a local hospital in Ontario before being airlifted to a hospital in Boise for an emergency surgery of his neck’s wounds.
A federal grand jury in Oregon returned a single-count indictment charging Strauss with a hate crime involving an attempt to kill on September 17, 2020.
He is expected to receive a maximum of life in prison at his sentencing on September 9 before US District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.
In a statement announcing Strauss’ guilty plea on Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said: ‘The defendant is being held accountable for his vicious, racially-motivated attack on a Black man who was targeted because of the color of his skin.’
Clark went on to say that racially motivated acts of violence must not be tolerated and promised her division will work with federal, state and local partners to ensure that individuals who commit bias motivated crimes are brought to justice for their actions.
‘This crime serves as a horrifying reminder that racism and bigotry still exist and threaten the safety of communities of color,’ said Acting US Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug for the District of Oregon.
‘Hate crimes not only hurt victims, but spread fear across entire communities. This conviction should send a strong message that federal law enforcement will not tolerate hate-motivated acts of violence and will move swiftly to hold those responsible accountable.’
Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon also said that everyone has the right to go to work without being of afraid of falling victim to violence because of their look or how they live.
‘We should all draw strength from our diversity and work together to protect our neighbors,’ he said.